LEPRECHAUN IN THE HOOD
** ½ Out of 5
Tagline- Evil’s in the House.
Release Date- March 28th, 2000
Running Time- 90-Minutes
Screenplay- Doug Hall & Jon Huffman
Director- Rob Spera
Starring- Warwick Davis, Ice-T, A.T. Montgomery, Rashaan Nall, Red Grant
When the original Leprechaun was released in 1993 I doubt anyone could have imagined it would become a successful franchise that would spawn a number of sequels. The original film was simply ok and it’s something I can revisit, but only after a few years. The 2nd film was quite an improvement and even if I give them both the same rating I vastly enjoyed part 2 more. Leprechaun 3 the first in the series to go DTV is my guilty pleasure of the series and the one I can say I actually quite enjoyed and it seemed perhaps the Leprechaun franchise might have hit its stride, but than then the 4th one happened and while it wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t very good either and at that time many among myself saw it as the worst. After a few years someone at Trimark decided it would not only be a good idea for a 5th film, but also set it in the hood. However it actually proved to be a good idea as Leprechaun in the Hood was quite a success with rentals and cable airings. The film was released in 2000 and often draws mixed reviews with probably more subpar, but Leprechaun in the Hood has developed quite a cult following and I don’t think the film is quite as terrible as some, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as some did and at the end of the day sure the film has a number of amusing bits, but I might rate this as the weakest at the time of its release (Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood however would easily take that title after its release). As I’ve mentioned in other reviews I’m not the biggest fan of the series outside of really the 3rd film (and part 2 to some degree), but outside of part 3 the rest are average or below average, but what keeps me coming back is Warwick Davis who truly elevates these films and here we have the Leprechaun getting high even saying the line a friend with weed is a friend indeed and the closing credits has him performing a rap song!
The evil Leprechaun (Davis) is back again and still just as protective over his gold. This time around the Leprechaun battles an aspiring rap trio and an evil record producer (Ice-T).
The screenplay by Doug Hall & Jon Huffman like the previous films is meant to be silly and campy and while not exactly a great screenplay by any stretch of the imagination it does feature a few amusing bits such as the Leprechaun smoking a joint. Characters are decent, but too cliched in spots. Some people have claimed racism, but everything here is meant to be a satirical look at life in the hood and in no way do I think this was offensive (though the next part would do the same thing and felt a little more offensive even if that wasn’t the intentions). On paper Leprechaun in the Hood has a fun idea, but while the script aims to be just that it isn’t as fun as it wanted to be.
Leprechaun in the Hood was directed by Rob Spera who took over the series from Brian Trenchard-Smith who directed the 3rd and 4th film. Rob Spera who made is directorial debut in 1988 with the low budget horror film Witchcraft, which would end up becoming one of the longest running horror franchises with 12 sequels. Spera also directed Bloody Murder 2, which while average was a major improvement over the original and he also has plenty of TV directing credits such as Criminal Minds and Army Wives. Spera has experience working in low budget features, which is a good thing since Leprechaun in the Hood looks like the budget was a lot lower than the previous films. Rob Spera delivers a fairly fun film, but can also be quite sluggish in spots, which has more to do with the shortcomings of the script. The Leprechaun franchise always had a sense of humor to it and they were never intended to be legit horror films though the first two films attempt some suspense, but Spera never really looks to generate much suspense, which is a good thing since I’m not sure a wisecracking leprechaun would be very intimidating. Despite the low budget, Spera does put together a professional looking film, but not a very good one. At this stage in the series I’m not sure anyone could make more out of this and outside of the 3rd film all the others were either average at best or below average. Rob Spera delivers a few fun moments, but more often than not Leprechaun in the Hood just isn’t very good.
Like all the previous films this one works best when Warwick Davis takes center stage. By this point in the series with the budget getting lower I would have to think passion for the character rather than the money is why Warwick kept coming back. While the Leprechaun franchise may not have reached the heights of other horror franchises I would still label the Leprechaun a horror icon, but it has nothing to do with the films, but everything to do with Warwick Davis and what he brings to the role.
Overall Leprechaun in the Hood has a fun idea, but for me the film never reached the level of fun the concept had. With that said there are a number of amusing bits so I can see why it’s built a cult following. Of all the films in the original series Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood is for me by far the absolute worst. Leprechaun in the Hood did turn out far better though that isn’t saying much, but this as of its release as I stated might be my least favorite, but seeing as the 4th wasn’t very good either I guess its pick your poison. Despite some fun moments I found this mostly a dud, but watchable.